Road-based Tour CUA

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This CUA allows the holder to provide road-based tours and non-instructional photography tours for group sizes of 1–25 clients. CUA holders may use vehicles manufactured to carry up to 25 passengers or less under this CUA. In-park shuttle service and step-on guide service are also authorized under this CUA and there is no maximum group size for step-on guiding services.

General Provisions

CUA holders are authorized to operate on paved park roads with visits to facilities, services, walks on trails less than a half-mile from trailheads or roadways, and on boardwalks and developed areas, including:

  • Old Faithful Geyser Basin
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (North and South Rims including overlooks)
  • Biscuit Basin
  • Black Sand Basin
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Fountain Paint Pots
  • Firehole Lake Drive – limited to vehicles weighing less than 6 tons GVW*
  • Firehole Canyon Drive – up to passenger vans only*
  • Midway Geyser Basin
  • Mud Volcano
  • Blacktail Plateau Drive – up to passenger vans only*
  • Old Gardiner Road – up to passenger vans only*
  • Old Yellowstone Trail*
  • Virginia Cascades – up to passenger vans only*
  • Lake Butte Overlook – up to passenger vans only*
* dependent on road conditions and seasonal closures

  1. Road-Based Tours is defined as a road-based vehicle tour where the main purpose is transporting clients throughout the park with stops at facilities, services, boardwalks, and developed areas. Stops for non-instructional painting or photography opportunities is authorized under this CUA. Group sizes over 25 people and/or vehicles with a manufactured capacity of 26 passengers or more do not fall under this CUA and must pay the commercial tour fee at the entrance station. For more information on the commercial tour fee program, please visit the Fees & Passes website.
  2. Step-on Guide Service is defined as a guide who rides in a visitor's vehicle/tour bus and performs guide services for sightseeing tours within the park. It is the guide's responsibility to check the clients' proof of auto liability insurance before the trip.
  3. Shuttle Service is defined as point-to-point pick-up and drop-off of passengers within Yellowstone National Park at designated parking areas, pullouts, and developed areas.
    1. Guides must meet clients outside of park concessioner's land assignment and NPS Visitor Centers.
  4. There is no limitation on the number of groups a CUA holder can bring into the park per day as long as group sizes are adhered to. Separate groups may not congregate in one area at pullouts, on boardwalks, or on trails.
  5. Tours may occupy the parking lots or vehicle pullouts in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley for a maximum of 2 hours.
  6. Slow moving vehicles must use roadside turnouts and parking areas to allow free flow of other traffic. Vehicles must not stop in the roadway to allow clients to take pictures or to load and unload passengers.
  7. Vehicles shall not be left idling in parking areas or park across multiple parking spaces. Loading zones must not be occupied longer than necessary to load and unload passengers.
  8. The CUA holder will provide all visitor services in a manner that is consistent with and supportive of the interpretive themes, goals, and objectives of the park.


Road-Based Tours

Commercial Use Authorization for Road-Based Tours, In-Park Shuttle Service, and Step-On Guide Service Operating Plan

Download and Sign PDF

Road-based Commercial Tour CUA for Group Sizes of 26 or More

The implementation of standardized Road-based Commercial Tour CUAs is DELAYED until further notice. Road-based Commercial Tour companies may continue to enter the park by paying the commercial tour fee at the entrance station. If you are a Road-based Commercial Tour operator and would like to receive communication from the park regarding operational changes, then please email us your business name, contact name, address, phone number, and email address.

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Request Guide Cards

Guide cards will be sent to the CUA holder when all required documents have been received.

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Resources for Commercial Guides

Download or review resources for anyone who may routinely work with visitors to Yellowstone National Park.

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Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs)

The National Park Service requires specific authorizations for commercial businesses to operate in the national parks.

Cars and trucks line both sides of the road, created congestion on the road.

Service-based CUAs

These include towing, tire repair, RV and RV appliance repair, locksmith, and water access.

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Apply for a CUA

Here is everything you need to know about submitting a CUA application.

Last updated: October 4, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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